The Tennessee Senate has voted to pass legislation which cuts diversity funding from the University of Tennessee.
On March 17, 2016 the UTM SGA passed a resolution condemning the proposed legislation. They are not the only school in the UT system to actively speak out against this bill. After the legislation was passed students from UT held protests in the form of a walk out and then rally. The rally included students laying in the ground and chanting.
The bill was passed with a 66-22 vote and now effects UT’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The funds would allegedly be reallocated to pay for police decals that read, “In God We Trust,” and a portion would be given to minority scholarships. There are currently two versions of the bill in circulation, each having differences in where the money is allocated but both agreeing to cut it from diversity funding.
In regard to the House Bill, UTM student and Student Representative for the UT Board of Trustees, Miranda Rutan said,
“I am deeply saddened by the actions taken by our Tennessee legislature at this time with the passage of HB2248. I feel this decision will have far more reaching effects than anyone can expect at this point by taking funding away from the UT flagship campus’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. To a certain extent, fault rests on the shoulders of all parties and these parties must come together to find a clearer understanding of the true problem.
Our state, our country, and us as people rely on the benefits of diversity to keep us moving forward and not back. Without this important funding, our flagship campus will be at a disadvantage for leading the UT System into a more diverse and inclusive future. I commend those using their voices to express their views on this situation and hope these individuals continue their fight for our UT diversity.”
The senate version of the bill has been sent to the calendar committee to determine when the next vote will take place in front of full Senate.
The University has declined to comment on the legislation at this time.